21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
An interesting idea but flawed execution,
This review is from: Kiss Me First (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book has a very interesting premise and some good, engrossing episodes but as a whole I found it rather unsatisfactory.
The plot revolves around the narrator (Leila) being asked to take on the identity of another person (Tess) and to pretend to be her and to keep up her internet "life" while the real Tess disappears. I won't give away more plot details than that because things develop slowly and further revelation would have acted as a spoiler for much of the book for me. The characters of Leila and Tess are interesting and Leila has a very well realised and convincing narrative voice. She is a solitary, asocial, slightly autistic young woman while Tess is an older, devil-may-care "free spirit". I found both characters convincing; Leila's social ineptiude and naiveté were well done as was Tess's unpredictability, and the depiction of the relationship between them was a strength of the book.
There is lots of interaction between the two of them as Leila tries to get to grips with the minutiae which she will need of Tess's life, and then the story of how things go once Leila has taken over. This was one of my problems with the book; it's an interesting idea but - oh dear! - there's a lot of it. I ended up skimming pages and pages of stuff regarding questions about who Victor was, where Tess worked at certain times and so on and so on, none of which had any real relevance to the plot or central idea. I know that Lottie Moggach is trying to convey the immense intricacy and detail needed, but it's not really a spectator sport. Things picked up a bit after page 150, but there were still considerable longeurs and I thought the book could have done with being at least 100 pages shorter. Moggach has the courage not to tie everything up too neatly at the end, but I still found it all just a little more convenient than convincing.
There is a really good book to be written about identity in the internet age but, although it's a creditable attempt in many ways, this isn't it. I was hoping for some elements of the Curious Case Of The Dog In The Night-Time and The Talented Mr Ripley, but got neither, really. I don't like to be too critical of a debut novel, but I can only give this a very qualified recommendation.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Aug 2013 09:49:44 BDT
Dr David Mankin says:
I totally agree -a very accurate review
Posted on 12 Sep 2013 13:16:40 BDT
Who is Victor? Do you mean Adrian?
In reply to an earlier post on 12 Sep 2013 18:58:36 BDT
Sid Nuncius says:
No, I mean Victor - and that's my point. He's mentioned only because of some possible anomaly in Tess's story which Leila needs to clarify. He has no bearing on the plot or anything else and there's a lot of stuff like that which I found hard to wade through.
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